Imagine a country where strikes by public-sector unions occupy the public square; where foreign policy wanders aimlessly as America disentangles itself from wars abroad and a potential civil war on its southern border; where racial and ethnic groups jostle for political influence; where a war on illicit substances leads to violence in its cities; where technology is dramatically changing how people everywhere communicate and move about—and where the educated harbor increasing contempt for the philosophic underpinnings of our Republic.
That country, the America of the 1920s, looks a lot like the America of today. One would think, then, that the President who successfully navigated these challenges, Calvin Coolidge, might be esteemed today. Instead, Coolidge’s record is little known, the result of efforts by both the left and right to distort his legacy.
Why Coolidge Matters revisits the record of our most underrated president, examining Coolidge’s views on governance, public-sector unions, education, race, immigration, and foreign policy. Most important, Why Coolidge Matters explains what lessons Coolidge—the last president to pay down the national debt—can offer the limited-government movement in the post-industrial age.